German media company Spiegel-Gruppe has had a fact-checking team since the 1950s, several years after its print weekly magazine, Der Spiegel, published its first issue.
The team, called dokumentation, is organized by expertise that mirrors the publisher’s different desks, such as politics, science, economics, foreign affairs, culture and sports.
Often, members of the team work on articles with journalists, providing them with relevant research on the economics of North Korea and its relationship with other countries, for instance, playing more of a consultative role as well as checking the manuscripts once they have been written.
The backbone of dokumentation is a database of text articles and official information about notable people, enterprises or topics that could be useful for the journalists at Spiegel-Gruppe.
Each week, the database automatically adds another 60,000 articles from German and international media and other official sources like government documents.
Within dokumentation, a team of seven people has trained algorithms in the database to pull in specific sources based on content — from articles fed from Germany’s news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur to more in-depth analysis pieces from around the world that need more contextual knowledge to understand.